With all five days of racing at the Rallye du Maroc departing from, and returning to the bivouac in Zagora, stage one began by taking riders in a south-westerly direction away from the host town. As riders entered the timed special, the mixed terrain stage began with a 30-kilometre stretch of rolling sand dunes before opening out into hard desert tracks. An additional hazard came from an unexpected sandstorm, which only added to the difficulty of an already technical special.
For Adrien Van Beveren, the Frenchman thoroughly enjoyed the challenges found on stage one to successfully complete the timed special as the sixth-fastest rider. Feeling physically strong and confident aboard his Yamaha WR450F Rally, Adrien delivered a calculated ride to ensure a solid finish on the opening day of the event.
Another Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team rider initially enjoying a positive start to the rally was Andrew Short. Frustratingly, a crash in the sand dunes left the American with a damaged navigation tower but he was otherwise unharmed. With the sandstorm forcing many of the front runners to slow their pace, this allowed Andrew to make up for lost time and ultimately cross the finish line in 14th position.
As the third rider to enter the stage, Ross Branch faced the arduous task of opening the special and would be caught out by the sandstorm, which led to a sizable mistake with his navigation. Losing considerable time, Ross’ chances of another win in this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship at the Rally du Maroc are now incredibly slim, however the always upbeat racer remains excited to demonstrate his true capabilities during the remaining days of the rally.
With day one of the Rallye du Maroc proving to be eventful for the team, tomorrow’s second day of the rally brings the longest stage with a total distance of 609.22 kilometres.